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5/6/2022 - Interhouse Party Plans

To: Caltech Undergraduate Students  

From: Kevin M. Gilmartin, Vice President for Student Affairs

After consultation with the Inter-House Committee and in response to a decline in the number of COVID-19 infections reported among members of the undergraduate community, Institute leadership has approved limited plans for undergraduate interhouse parties to resume this weekend.

It is worth stressing that the heightened health and safety protocols announced on April 21, which led to the cancellation of last week's interhouse parties, have not otherwise been adjusted or changed. With the implementation of preventative measures such as indoor masking and reduced indoor social activity, we have significantly reduced campus infections among undergraduate students, and lowered the risk of transmission within our residential communities. At the same time, it is important to stress that case activity in the city of Pasadena and throughout the region has been rising in recent weeks, and there is evidence that this is being felt in increased infection among other members of our campus community. So even with enhanced safety measures, there are real risks that student cases may rise again in conjunction with general community transmission.

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The decision to allow this weekend's parties to proceed is the result of an understanding among Institute leadership, and the campus community at large, that interhouse parties are a meaningful and valued part of our student house traditions, and that it is worth finding a way to resume them in some form as the academic year winds down. We are committed to taking this step, in partnership with our student community, under the conditions that the student community recognize the risks, that they work with staff and student leadership to safely manage this weekend's events, and that they continue to adhere to the Institute's requirements for indoor masking, reduced indoor social activities, and twice-weekly surveillance testing.

With this understanding and shared commitment, Avery, Dabney, and Venerable will be hosting interhouse parties this weekend. All party activities will take place out of doors, in house courtyards, with a density limit of 100 students at any time. Masks are required for all students attending these courtyard events. No indoor activities are approved in association with any of the interhouse planning.

Looking ahead to further interhouse planning after this weekend, it will be critical that the undergraduate student community comply with surveillance testing expectations, and also that case activity within the undergraduate population remains low. As a reminder, all undergraduate students are required to test twice weekly, and we urge students to submit a first sample on Monday or Tuesday, to assist Institute leadership in assessing case activity.

With your continued cooperation and partnership, I am hopeful that we can navigate this period in the pandemic and the close of the academic year in a manner that supports student traditions and culture as well as the health and well-being of the entire community.